Saturday, May 21, 2011

More on Kings & Queens

When I was submitting to agents, Kings & Queens was at a too-terse 88,000 words. It didn't need to be that short, content-wise, but I didn't want to turn agents off with 106,000 words, so I stripped it way down. Let me just say, because it was so skeletal, I am SOOOO glad no one signed me.

When I decided to seek out an independent publisher instead, I stopped caring about word count and reinfused more substance into the narrative. My story did need major editing those months ago, but I overdid it to the detriment of the work. I'm now at 102,000 words and it's a little over 300 pages...328, if you count the excerpt from Leslie DuBois's Guardian of Eden. Now is that so ugly? 328 pages? That's not a behemoth at all. So what's the big deal?

With Little Prince Publishing, I get to call the shots too. The cover, back jacket copy, the way my book is presented to the world gets my say.

In the Big House world, I understand why my book didn't garner much interest. I couldn't find another one quite like it, and big publishers need good-selling comparisons. The best I could come up with was Veronica Mars. Kings & Queens is also written in close Third, but First is what's hot in YA. And my book is not high-concept. A teen trying to stop a massacre when cops don't believe her doesn't sound that special or unique...and it wouldn't be, if my novel were just about that. The best part of the read is not in some easily pegged ooo factor, it's in the surprises, the turns and twists, the blurred definitions of character so you're no longer sure who's good or bad, and the sudden decent into disturbia. How do you put that on a poster? You can't really.

Kings & Queens is not high-concept or in First or easily shelved... and I really don't care. That doesn't make it inadequate; it's just not very marketable from their standpoint. But the reality is, readers don't really care about concept at all, only marketing departments do. Readers just want good books.

I'm happy with my richer narrative. I'm happy that Kings & Queens is different and fresh. And I'm happy I get to call the shots about my own work and collect 100% of my royalties, as any Little Prince Publishing author can.

So, if you want to read a multi-layered, twisty suspense thriller, look for my low-concept YA novel ;) Kings & Queens this summer in all online stores.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.


  1. Isn't it nice being an Indie? 300 pages is not too long. Priscilla the Great is 309 and it's Middle Grade! When you're an Indie, you do what you want.

  2. Yes. I love it thus far. I like to have creative control, and that's the one thing I'd never get with a big-name publisher. I wouldn't say I'm opposed to them, but for my debut novel, I'm just glad my stamp is on everything. Plus, I don't have to shelve my adult sequel.

  3. The best part of this is, even if the book's 1,000 print pages, there isn't anyone who can tell you "no" when you're doing it for yourself. Go get 'em, CV! I hope you out-sell Hocking and Konrath combined!

    And let's face it, with eBook format, there's no limit to shelf space either! Woo!

    Take care and God bless. I really hope you're extremely successful. It's always amazing what the Master Builder can do with the stone the Big Six has cast aside. :)

  4. Thanks for the support and well wishes, DK.

  5. Wishing you success with it. I'll be sure to get a copy. I finally gave in and bought a Kindle. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

  6. Sounds like you made a wonderful choice, Courtney. I comprehend the issues involved in marketing, the complexities, etc, but when the industry gets so caught up on the categorization of works I can't help but think they're short changing the readers.

  7. Thanks, Joy. Haven't gone digital yet. Maybe if earn a decent amount of royalties I can get a Kindle or a Nook.

  8. I agree. I understand that they need to know where to shelve things, but I personally don't like writing to categories. I just write whatever's pressing to be written.